Saturday, August 4, 2012

Garden fail, prehistoric slugs, giant squirrell, patience

Yesterday I canned up  10 jars of raspberry jelly.  I think this may be the last of the raspberries for the year.  I currently have almost two dozen jars of jelly, two gallons of RB infused vinegar working and 5 gallons of RB wine going.  And in the height of the season I was giving away raspberries to friends who showed up with buckets, because I couldn't keep up with the sheer volume..
If only the rest of the garden was going as well. We spent all that time  putting in beds in the sunny  areas only to have the sun disappear on us  when the trees came out of winter hibernation.  Honestly... we had no idea the trees would grow and shade so aggressively.  So, one winter project will be to hack off a bunch of limbs and prune  all the trees back.  Next  item will be to kill as many of the slugs as we can .  We  THINK its the astronomical number of slugs that live here that ate all the young plants before they could get going. We couldn't kill them fast enough. We unjustly accused the chickens of  getting into the gardens and doing the damage, but it continued long after they were penned up for the summer.  Then there is the soil.  We really didn't have time to  condition it before we planted.  We were in such a hurry to get SOMETHING in the ground before it was too late.  It was mid to late June before we got everything in this year.  We normally have the soil conditioned and are ready to plant by the  first of May.  Usually by the middle of June.... because we cold frame most of the beds, we are eating out of the garden.   We were just too late  in  planting this year and we took too many shortcuts to get it done 'in time'.  The great thing about gardening? There is always next year.
We are expecting much  fruit from our inherited trees.... maybe..... I went out to check on the chickens last week and heard a noise behind the pen.  I went to check and there was an enormous squirrell  up in the plum tree. He was plucking the  really large plums and taking one bite from them and throwing them on the ground.  This is unnacceptable!
Chickens: We are only getting a couple of eggs a day from the old girls.  The new ones have not yet started laying.  Patience!... I just need some patience.  I'm really feeling the sting of starting from the beginning WITH EVERYTHING in this new paradise we have moved too.
The new chickens will start laying soon.  I am just calling fail on the gardens this year and I am thankful for what  'old' Mrs. Murphy planted for posterity.   The berries, trees, flowers  and herbs she left behind  are the only thing giving me hope right now.  She set a fine example and left behind proof that it can be done.............   Just..... need.......... patience! 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Inter dimensional chicken portal

Retarded or Genius? I cant decide. Of the 7 new hens I acquired at the beginning of June all but one  are very ...chicken-y.  Then there's the one. One of the Rhode Island reds .  She's always the last one to come out of the pen. She's  always a bit from the flock.  When there is danger she is the first under the bushes.  When the food is thrown out she watches everyone else  eat before taking a bite.  She is always unpredictable. She never goes where she is not supposed too.  She wants to be petted at times but absolutely will not be herded or  tricked into following the food.  I think something happened when she fell into the inter dimensional portal that seems to be located somewhere in the chicken pen.  About three weeks after we got the new hens we decided it was time to let them free range Mystic Cedars.  Everything went fine for about a week.  Then one day I did my once hourly head count and one was missing.  Jimmy and searched the entire one acre.... every tree,bush,outbuilding and hideyhole she  could possibly get into.  We searched the chicken pen inch by inch at least 5 times.....then got the neighbors involved in case she went over the fence.  We searched for about 4 hours before giving up and deciding she had been carried off by a hawk or something.  Before  locking the other girls in the coop for the night  we did another  head count and  searched the pen again ...making sure to check under the coop with a flashlight.  We locked the pen for the night. The next morning when I went out to let the chickens out she was sitting inside the locked pen next to the coop door.  Her eyes were a bit glazed and she seemed a little cold but, when  I let the others out she perked up and joined them for breakfast.  We thought she was ok but the truth is.... She aint never been  'right' since then.  I wonder at times if she really is MY chicken or  if she belonged to the Frankie in the parallel universe and we switched hens when the portal closed.  It would make sense that her behaviors  would reflect the little differences in the  universes.  Maybe she gets confused  when a tree or bush isn't supposed to be there.  Or maybe in the parallel ... I'm a movie star living in LA and  somebody else owns this place.  Maybe that's it..... Maybe she doesn't know who I am.   Or maybe in the  other dimension.... Chickens are the rulers of the world and  she's not adjusting well to sharing a coop  with 9 other chickens.... or being valued for her egg laying instead of her mind.   What ever happened to her has set her apart from the others.